Cirque du Soleil in Vegas

Cirque has had a string of failures in Las Vegas: R.U.N. at Luxor, Viva Elvis at Aria, and Zarkana at Aria. Zumanity at New York New York was a hit for a number of years, but was closed due to the pandemic in March 2020 and officially canceled in November 2020. The contract with Criss Angel’s Believe show at Luxor expired in 2016, and from what I heard, they were glad to get rid of him. The current shows that re-opened in Las Vegas after the pandemic are: Mystere at TI, O at Bellagio, MJ One at Mandalay Bay, Beatles Love at Mirage, and Ka at MGM.


The press was invited in December 2021 for the re-launch of Ka, and I loved it, which is a total turn-around from when I first saw its opening; back then I hated it. I don’t know what they did with the new re-launch, but something resonated more with me this time. As an entertainment journalist, I try to be impartial, but sometimes that is very hard. We all have our personal preferences, and sometimes it’s hard to overlook certain aspects of shows when we are fortunate to see competitor productions. I have yet to see O at Bellagio, but I’ve heard it is incredible. I hope to finally see it sometime in 2022. Mystere is still, by far, my favorite. I know it’s the oldest and first Cirque production to be permanently placed in Las Vegas, but to me, when you think of a Cirque production, Mystere is iconic!


Cirque du Soleil means “Circus of the Sun” in French, and was founded in 1984 in the Quebec region of Canada by street performers Guy Laliberte and Gilles St. Croix. In the late 1980’s, Franco Dragone joined the creative team and brought considerable financial success to the corporation, along with several amazing new shows. All shows, except Believe, are known as ‘ensemble shows’, meaning, they are comprised of a group of circus-style variety entertainers, who they can seamlessly rotate in and out of roles. Believe, starring Criss Angel, was the first, and from what we have heard, last time they will produce a show around a single entertainer. Mystere is iconic because it showcases incredible variety artists, wild and fun costumes, great music, and their own language known as ‘cirque-speak’. Cirque-speak is a gibberish language that you don’t understand, which is great for international appeal. But, because the performers are so talented, you really can understand what they are saying by their accompanying body language and facial expressions.


Cirque has gone through several corporate buy-outs and re-organizations, and in our opinion, might have lost some of its creative edge, which was present when St. Croix, Dragone, and Laliberte were in control. This is probably why we have seen so many show failures here in Las Vegas. With that being said, the five shows here in town still running are very good; each with its own specific focus: water with O, Beatles, Michael Jackson, or more esoteric imagination with Ka and Mystere, which leads into the next article: the premier of Mad Apple at New York New York.


Cirque’s Mad Apple Premiers at New York New York

Mad Apple is the newest Cirque show to open in Las Vegas. It is the replacement for Zumanity at New York New York. Mad Apple is a play on New York being known as the Big Apple, and quite fitting since it is at the New York New York Casino Resort. Mad Apple is a departure from the other Cirque shows with: three comedians, several variety artists, five singers, and a live band; among the total cast of forty-eight.


The show is an overview of New York life, with a focus on: sports, Broadway, music, street scene, and a diverse culture; all in traditional Cirque-style! As you would expect, there are the talented aerialists, wheel of death, balancing duo, and trampoline scenes; all blended within an undertone of New York life and music. The mechanics of the staging and elevators within the stage appealed to the theater-geek in me. This is the first time we have seen stand-up comedians in a Cirque du Soleil production and represents the numerous comedy clubs throughout New York.


Mad Apple is now the sixth show in Las Vegas from Cirque du Soleil. For someone who has spent a lot of time in New York City, this show represents the full spectrum of the New York scene.